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WIN! Nova Scotia legislates ban on uranium exploration and mining

The Canadian Press reports this afternoon that, “A moratorium on the exploration and mining of uranium in Nova Scotia will be turned into law by the provincial government.”

“The ban has been in place since 1981, but was only in the form of a cabinet policy statement. Natural Resources Minister John MacDonnell …says a legislated moratorium will make it more difficult for future governments to rescind or change the law.”

Mr. MacDonell also said that turning the ban into law was a response to public concerns.

The Council of Canadians has been calling for a legislated moratorium on uranium exploration and mining through grassroots chapter work, statements, action alerts, media work, a tour, and other activities.

On April 8, 2008, Atlantic organizer Angela Giles highlighted in an action alert that, “Capella Resources of Vancouver (through their subsidiary Tripple Uranium Resources Inc.) announced (on April 1) that they have found more than 100 parts per million of uranium in their exploration site in Central Nova Scotia (west of Windsor Forks).”

The alert noted, “Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada that currently has a moratorium on uranium mining. This moratorium, however, was a general agreement made in 1982 and is not bound by provincial legislation.”

Our April 2008 e-newsletter warned, “The company has approached the province to lift the moratorium and according to news reports, Premier Rodney MacDonald has indicated his intention to review the ban.”

The action alert we issued that month stated, “Council of Canadians activists have been responding by holding and participating in public events in their communities to educate people about the dangers of uranium, both short-term and long-term, and to determine how to move forward with this growing opposition. The Annapolis Valley (NS) chapter also recently co-hosted a public discussion that was excellent, and covered by the Halifax Chronicle Herald.”

Board member and chapter activist Marion Moore wrote in the autumn 2008 issue of Canadian Perspectives that, after the announcement by Tripple Uranium Resources Inc., “The South Shore chapter of the Council of Canadians quickly organized a public meeting. …About 120 people attended that first public meeting on a stormy January night.”

She added, “Since that initial meeting (in January), other groups around the province began to organize. We have formed both local and provincial coalitions, started a letter-writing campaign, contacted our local papers, met with our provincial MLAs, and held other public meetings and film screenings. We have produced postcards, petitions, fact sheets, brochures and blogs, and have arranged for three municipalities to pass resolutions calling on the Nova Scotia government to bring in a legislated ban on uranium mining. We have also participated in the provincial government’s Voluntary Planning Process on Natural Resources, with strong submissions opposing uranium mining.”

The summer 2008 issue of Canadian Perspectives reported, “The South Shore, Nova Scotia chapter, as part of the South Shore uranium action group, convinced the Chester municipal council to pass a resolution asking the Nova Scotia government for a permanent legislated moratorium on uranium exploration and mining. The Halifax Chronicle Herald reported that “Chester municipal councillors want the province to permanently ban uranium mining … the seven-member council voted unanimously to ask the provincial government to enshrine a ban in legislation.”

And in October 2008, the Council of Canadians formally stated that uranium mining “creates toxic tailings, poses water contamination and other environmental risks and health hazards. The Council of Canadians calls for a ban on all uranium exploration and mining; strengthening of legislation to ensure that any exploration or mining of other materials does not disturb or uncover uranium deposits; and fair, just transition programs for all communities and workers involved in the uranium mining industry.”

This legislated moratorium announced today by the NDP government in Nova Scotia will fulfill a promise the party made while they were in opposition.

Congratulations to everyone and all groups who worked so hard for this win.

Brent Patterson
The Council of Canadians